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No one returns from Prague without stars in their eyes. The unparalleled panoply of history, art and architecture all but transports a traveler into a fairy tale realm of castles, kings and golems. But it’s the cool of Prague that has made the word “Bohemian” the definition of a rebellious, permissive and creative way of life for generations.
Today, it’s called “boho chic,” and it blends a cheeky, subversive spirit with the flavors of Scandinavia’s minimalism, Brooklyn’s industrial flannel and Berlin’s affordability.
On the beaten tourist path, it’s hard to see, but break into back streets and neighborhoods such as Zizkov, Letna and Vrsovice, and watch the new Bohemians cut the edge of design.
EatAny traditional Czech menu is an unconventional lesson in anatomy, with necks, cheeks, knees, knuckles and other parts filling out the appetizers and entrees.
La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise, one of three Michelin-starred restaurants in Prague, is no exception. Here, glass replicas of bones are literally crystallized into the chandeliers. On the tables below, a wholly unique and modern presentation of Czech cuisine unfolds in six- or 11-course degustation menus, and the ingredients are sourced mostly from local farms.
Think goatling nuggets, wild garlic and mint atop fermented potato pancakes, and pigeon with pear and pumpkin. But the coup de grace really comes in the course-by-course pairing of refined house-made juices — such as sage, hazelnut, asparagus and sea buckthorn — or alcoholic beverages.
SleepAfter being named the Fifth Best Hotel in the World by a 2017
TripAdvisor poll, this midsize boutique hotel — a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World — has never lacked customers. The perks of BoHo Hotel Prague start with its location: a cozy, tranquil pocket off Senovazna Namesti, which, although only steps from Prague’s major sights, feels atmospherically distant.
Step through the thin, sliding-glass doors into the lithe, gray, marble-topped lounge to see the vanguard of high-end Bohemian design. This extends to the library stocked with quirky reading material; the downstairs spa and wellness center; and the 57 guestrooms spiced with slipper tubs, indirect lighting and pinhole photography of Prague by artist Jordi Llorella.
PlayWhile tourists beat the path from Wenceslas Square to Prague Castle, the city’s young, hip and often expatriated denizens live and play outside of the old town in Prague’s districts of Vinohrady, Zizkov and Vrsovice.
In Vrsovice, Krymska Street has become a particular boho-forward hot spot thanks to The New York Times, which in 2015 named it one of the publication’s favorite streets in Europe. The reasons become particularly clear in the evenings, when one cool pub, restaurant and cafe after another along the sloping, modestly gritty, cobbled lane fills with exuberant locals and expats, who often gather at Cafe Sladkovsky, Cafe V lese and Bad Flash Bar. On warm weekends, the party often flows into the street, turning Krymska into a fun, informal block party.